The Warren County Planning Commission approved a proposal to re-zone approximately 2.75 acres along Big Tree Road in Sugar Grove Borough on Tuesday evening.
Lisa and Eric Hagberg originally approached the commission at the November meeting looking for a portion of their 14.7 acre lot to be zoned business. While the property is currently split between two designations Residential and ACR (Agriculture, Commercial, Recreation), Lisa Hagberg informed the commission last month that multiple retail opportunities, including a dollar-type store as well as self-storage units, may be possible development options for the site.
The commission, after tabling the measure last month and instructing county staff to outline options and reach out to landowners who may be affected by commission action, debated the proposal for about an hour after a presentation by county Zoning Officer Aaron Kalkbrenner.
Kalkbrenner presented five options. The commission honed in on re-zoning a portion of the parcel, granting business transitional status to approximately 2.75 acres.
Kalkbrenner outlined the benefits to designating the property business transitional. "By making it business transitional, it creates an atmosphere where regulations are in place," he said. He also noted that the adjacent property owners that he has communicated with all expressed opposition to re-zoning significant portions of the parcel as business.
"The thing about the business transitional is it requires zoning hearing board approval for anything that is non-residential," Planning Director Dan Glotz added. He explained that business transitional districts are often located "between downtown business districts and residential areas."
Expressing concern last month that a business designation "is the least restrictive," commission member Paul Pascuzzi noted on Tuesday that "at least with business transitional you have the restrictions."
Lisa Hagberg informed the commission that a majority of Sugar Grove Borough council was in favor of the designation, adding that Dollar General "has approached us" about development on the site. She said that they are requesting four acres to be granted a business designation, more than the 2.75 ultimately approved by the commission.
Commission member Kent Wilcox expressed a desire to maintain the residential portion of the property to the greatest degree possible, proposing that a portion of the lot could be re-zoned, leaving the remaining decision whether to designate the area with road frontage business or business transitional.
Commission member Jeff Zariczny then proposed that the commission approve a motion that included a 50 foot set back from the adjacent property, as well as a maximum depth from Big Tree Road of 400 feet, to be given a business transitional designation. He noted that this solution would "address some of the concerns of some of the neighbors."
The request, unanimously approved during Tuesday night's meeting, will now be sent to the county commissioners for final approval.